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Ohaguro-Bettari
Ohaguro-bettari
Information
Japanese name お歯黒べったり
Romanized name Ohaguro-Bettari
Meaning Nothing but blackened teeth
Type Unknown
Book(s) Ehon Hyaku Monogatari

Ohaguro-Bettari (お歯黒べったり or おはぐろべったり, Ohaguro-Bettari) is a female yōkai similar to the noppera-bō, but with a gaping mouth of blackened teeth. She wears a bridal kimono since in Japan long ago, blackened teeth was once a sign of married status.

DescriptionEdit

Late at night a disturbing yokai can be seen loitering near temples and shrines, dressed in beautiful wedding clothes. She calls single young men over to her, who are seldom able to resist her charms. Until of course, they see her up close.

From behind, an ohaguro bettari looks like a beautiful woman wearing a kimono – often a newlywed in her bridal gown. She appears usually at twilight outside of a temple, or occasionally inside a man’s own house, disguised as his wife. At first, her head is concealed, or turned away from any viewers. Any man struck by curiosity who comes closer to speak to her or to get a better look at her face will be surprised as she turns to reveal her face: an ugly, white, featureless dome slathered in thick makeup, with nothing but a huge, gaping mouth full of blackened teeth. She follows up this initial shock with a horrible cackle, sending the man running away and screaming in terror.

Ohaguro bettari is very similar to noppera-bō in appearance and demeanor. Because of this, she is often blamed, like nopperabō, on a shape-shifting prankster kitsune, tanuki, or mujina looking to have a laugh at the expense of an unwitting human. It has also been suggested that she is the ghost of an ugly woman who was unable to marry. Accurate eye-witness reports are hard to come by due to the embarrassment of the victims at having fallen for such a silly gag. However as no deaths or injuries (other than to pride) have been attributed to ohaguro bettari, and because sightings are rare, a mischievous shape-shifting animal yokai seems to be the most plausible explanation.

ReferencesEdit

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